Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Aug 24, 2021

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PLPD auto insurance is formally known as Public Liability and Property Damage. PLPD is oftentimes referred to as bare bones auto insurance because it is usually just enough insurance to meet the legal requirements of the state in which you reside.

PLPD is a common term in some states, such as Michigan, but it simply refers to liability coverage, which is required in all states.

This is cheap car insurance, but it doesn’t cover a lot, as you’ll see below. This kind of coverage is popular with people who don’t have a great credit score or a clean driving record, because these people tend to see the highest rates.

Read on to learn all about PLPD car insurance requirements and then if you want to compare PLPD auto insurance quotes online with regular auto insurance quotes just enter your zip above and you can compare insurance rates from many different companies!

What are the PLPD requirements?

While PLPD is usually thought to represent a minimal amount of insurance, this is not necessarily the case. If you only purchase enough PLPD to satisfy the state’s minimum coverage mandate, then it is minimal auto insurance. However, if you purchase higher coverage limits, then you can very well have PLPD that is more than just bare bones auto insurance.

The important thing to keep in mind with PLPD is, no matter how high the coverage limits are, the insurance you buy only pays for injuries and damages caused to third parties. This means that if you are injured in an accident for which you are at fault, or if your car is hurt in an accident you cause, then you will not receive any insurance benefit from your PLPD.

However, if you cause a car accident and cause bodily injury or property damage to someone else, then your PLPD auto insurance will pay for those claims up to the amount specified on your policy.

If you determine that you do not need medical coverage for yourself or collision or comprehensive for your car, then you may be satisfied with PLPD. If this is the case you may want to consider purchasing higher limits so that if there is an accident you are less likely to be out of pocket, depending on the severity of the claim(s).

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What does public liability mean?

Public liability, or the PL of PLPD, is now required by state law in almost every state. Public liability auto insurance applies to any auto related bodily injury and/or death that is caused to another party. If the injured person has insurance, their insurance company will not be responsible for covering their expenses. Instead, the primary insurance of the person that is responsible for the accident will pay the insurance claim that covers these expenses.

The exception to public liability is PIP (personal injury protection), which is required in no-fault states. In a state where fault is almost never assigned, everyone is responsible for his own medical or funeral expenses, regardless of who is at fault. This type of insurance system has reduced the amount of frivolous lawsuits arising from common fender benders.

The amount of public liability that will be paid out for a claim depends on how much coverage you buy. If you buy the minimum coverage, such as 10/20/5, then your insurance company will pay out $10,000 for a single person’s injuries and $20,000 total for the injuries of two or more people combined. The $5,000 will be paid out for property damage, as explained below.

If a person’s injuries total more than the maximum coverage you purchased, you will be responsible for paying the remainder out of pocket. That is why it is a good idea to buy more than the state’s minimum requirements. Doubling the minimum coverage will most likely not double your premium. Instead, you might end up paying only a little more on your insurance premium and being covered for a lot more damage.

What is property damage coverage?

If you are at fault for an accident, then your PLPD will pay for the victim’s injuries as described above. However, usually in an accident there is also property damage that needs to be compensated for in some way. Typically, the other person’s car will sustain some type of damage that will need to be repaired. In some cases, the car may be totaled and will need to be replaced altogether. If you are at fault for the accident, then you are liable for the damages and your insurance company will have to pay for the claims.

Since the PD part of PLPD stands for property damage, if you have PLPD then you have insurance coverage for any property you may harm. This applies not only to other cars, but to any property that gets injured during a car accident, including public property such as a guard rail, personal property such as a fence or house, or even a bicycle if it was directly damaged due to an auto accident you caused.

The amount of property damage insurance you have depends on how much you buy. You will have to buy at least the minimum amount required by the state, but it is recommended to buy more if you can. Using the same numbers as in the public liability example, 10/20/5, where 10/20 denotes bodily injury and 5 denotes property damage; the maximum insurance payout for property damage is $5,000. This means that the most your insurance company will pay out for all property claims is $5,000, leaving you financially responsible for any remaining balance. Buying higher coverage limits buys you more financial security.

Just as public liability does not pay for your own bodily injury expenses, property damage does not pay for any injuries sustained to your own car. If you are at fault for an accident, unless you have collision insurance, it is your responsibility to pay for your own repairs or even car replacement if your car is totaled in the crash.

In most states it is required by law to carry PLPD auto insurance. While this gives you the most basic auto insurance coverage possible, you can increase your coverage limits in order to reduce your out of pocket risk. If you want even more coverage, you will need to buy collision and comprehensive and in some cases medical. The more insurance you buy, the higher your premium will be.

Do you need more coverage than PLPD provides?

As mentioned above, this is bare bones auto insurance coverage intended to fulfill the minimum requirements in your state to drive legally. But liability insurance only covers damages to other parties from an accident you caused.

Collision coverage will pay for damages to your own vehicle after an accident you caused, and comprehensive coverage will pay for damages caused by incidents other than an auto accident, such as weather damage, vandalism, or even theft. A policy that combines liability, collision, and comprehensive is called full-coverage insurance.

If you have a decent car that you’d definitely want to get repaired if something happened to it, consider getting a full-coverage insurance policy. It could save you a lot of money in the long run.

Also, keep in mind that some states require more than just liability insurance. There are 22 states that require you to have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your auto policy.

If you’re worried about the price, keep in mind that a lot of auto insurance companies offer discounts. You can find cheap car insurance that offers the coverage you need.

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How can you get PLPD auto insurance quotes?

In order to get the best auto insurance rates possible, request quotes online and start shopping now with no pressure or commitment. Just enter your ZIP code to see rates for cheap car insurance in your area.